Friday, August 26, 2011

You Are Chosen

Us? Chosen? "NO WAY", were the only words that I could say. "You choose our family?!?"I exclaimed as tears run down my cheeks. I gathered myself to give praise and thanks! At 2:12 on May 24th, the sound of now having a daughter was so sweet. We saw her face and fell in love. We knew that she was the one. The daughter that was meant to join our family. We were chosen by God! We said from the moment that we decided to start this journey that we could only continue if we felt that God was leading us. And He has, in only a way that He could.

We have only dreamt of the day that we would be able to adopt. It's been nearly 8 years since we first talked about adopting. On our first date, we made it a priority that this time would come. We talked about being led to adoption at some point...and now our dreams are a reality! As the last few years have passed, our dreams of adoption have become a more common topic of conversation. On January 23rd, we submitted our application to learn more about the process. As is said in Proverbs 24:12, "Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God weighs our heart and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." So we prayed, "God, we have three young boys. You know that most people will think that we are crazy. Are you sure that this is the right time? We heard Gods soft whisper, "Trust ME, not the world."  We then came across another verse that said, "Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord, and not for men." Colossians 3:23. We knew what to do and were completely excited!

We completed our PIP class in March and met some of the most amazing families. This was exactly where we were supposed to be! In April, we moved forward with our home study and attended a Holt gala for adoptive parents. Again, God tugged on our hearts and our love for a daughter-to-be continued to grow. The families that were involved in this organization were say the least. The culture was so loving and giving that we felt incredibly humbled to even be there. The direction that God was taking our lives felt so fulfilling, so right.

Many questions arose as we began sharing our journey with others. Let us list the most common. 1)"You have three young children, 4, 2, and not even 1 years old. And you want to adopt?" "Yes, amazing right," we always said with excitement as we further went on to share our story. We have prayed about this for many years. This wasn't a decision that we made lightly or on a whim.  2) Others often asked,"why international adoption when there is children here in the US that need homes?" We always smile and simply say because this is really where we feel called to go. China and Africa have always been on our hearts as places to adopt. Yes, there are wonderful children here in the US, and maybe one day we will be called to adopt from here too. 3) "Are you adopting a little girl because you have all boys?" The answer is simply, no. Did we always think that we would have a girl in our family? Yes. But it never mattered to us if she was adopted or biological. We happen to be able to pick gender this time and after much prayer, felt like a little girl from China was the best fit for our family at this time. Her brothers, will indeed treat her like a princess. 4) "Why did you come to choose a child with special needs and how did you know what medical conditions that you were open to?"God has put us in contact, prior to making our decision, with people who have children with similar needs. Our careers are geared toward families and children. For the last 10 years, I have studied development and have worked with many children with a variety of special needs. We think the scariest part of having a label such as cleft palate, club foot, or spina bifida is the unknown, not actually having the condition itself. We had to be honest, realistic, and dig deep to know our boundaries. It was important to educate ourselves and be prepared for unknowns. Looking back, with all of our education and experiences, God has prepared us for this very moment.

The most amazing part of sharing our story is that we have heard so many people say, "Wow, we have always thought about adoption. But we had no idea...where can we get more information." Passing on the Holt website or sharing contact information with other families has really brought us such joy. We hope that others are led to adopt as there are 143 million orphans without a home. Yes, you read that number right. These are children that may be starving, living with preventable diseases, disabled, abused or neglected. These children need a home and they need to be loved.

I feel "paper pregnant", I would often tell M as we shared the news. Though you can't see our daughter growing in my belly, trust us when we say that she is growing in our hearts. The love that we feel for our daughter is as real as the love that we felt as we watched my belly grow. Getting the news that she is ours is equal to the joy of seeing the two lines appear on the white stick. We didn't know her name, know what she looked like, or how old she would be. But we did know that God was leading us, and that He would give us the perfect fit for our family. And now He has!

After our home study was complete, we moved forward with immigration paper work and the completion of our dossier in August. As our paper work was in the process of getting authenticated by the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. M came across a little girl on the China Waiting Child List. We were making dinner when he turned to me and said, "she may be the one". I smiled, "send a message to Holt and see if we can get more information." He did and we received the information the next day.

She is absolutely beautiful! Her big brown almond shaped eyes are full of life. In the photos she is in her crib and looking at us as though she too knows that she was looking directly into her parents eyes. She has thick black hair that has been shaved from living in an orphanage. She has a a large scar across her back from having surgery to repair her myelomeningocele, a type of spina bifida. There are so many unanswered questions, like will she be able to walk, have bladder/bowel control, or have any complications related to hydrocephalus.  It doesn't matter. We will learn as much about her as we can and educate ourselves to be well prepared for when she comes home. She is the one! She is the child that God has for us!

We pray that God will heal her body and make her new through His love. We ask that our hearts be prepared and open. We pray that He continues to bless this process and guides us on our journey to bring our daughter home. After all, God chose us! He created us in our mothers wombs, perfect to His plan. He is our Father and has adopted us by His grace. We cry Father and are so thankful for His unconditional love.

We promise to strive to love our daughter in the same way that God loves us, in the same way that we love our boys. The truth is that when we chose to have children, we didn't know what God was going to give us, whether biological or adopted. We are so blessed to have this opportunity to be parents again and our boys are so excited that she is soon going to be a part of our family. Today, we give thanks for God's love and grace. Thank you for choosing us and for accepting us for exactly who we are!